LEAPING BEAUTY

AND OTHER ANIMAL FAIRY TALES

From the elegantly addled brain of the author who brought us not only Wicked but haunted hairdos and stupid cupids, come eight deeply and profoundly silly stories. They have been twisted, turned inside-out, and re-imagined, so while they remain recognizable, their animal cast is only the beginning of their metamorphosis. Puns, literary and political references, wordplay, and sly wisdom abound. Children will be screaming with laughter, no matter if they get it or not, and adults will be convulsed. Take, for example, Hamster and Gerbil, the adopted children of the Beavers. When Papa Beaver is widowed and marries a Skunk who leaves the children in the woods, they find a delicious house made of lettuce and hollow steak bones, but the old porcupine inside has other plans for the children involving an oven. There’s no way to summarize the high hilarity of “So What and the Seven Giraffes” or “Little Red Robin Hood” and “Rumplesnakeskin” should be read carefully, with no liquid refreshment in hand or mouth. Dizzyingly funny. (Fractured fairy tales. 8-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 10, 2004

ISBN: 0-06-056417-2

Page Count: 208

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2004

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Utterly believable, this bittersweet story, complete with an author’s note identifying the real Ivan, will inspire a new...

Our Verdict

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  • Kirkus Reviews'
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  • New York Times Bestseller

  • Newbery Medal Winner

THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN

How Ivan confronts his harrowing past yet stays true to his nature exemplifies everything youngsters need to know about courage.

Living in a "domain" of glass, metal and cement at the Big Top Mall, Ivan sometimes forgets whether to act like a gorilla or a human—except Ivan does not think much of humans. He describes their behavior as frantic, whereas he is a peaceful artist. Fittingly, Ivan narrates his tale in short, image-rich sentences and acute, sometimes humorous, observations that are all the more heartbreaking for their simple delivery. His sorrow is palpable, but he stoically endures the cruelty of humans until Ruby the baby elephant is abused. In a pivotal scene, Ivan finally admits his domain is a cage, and rather than let Ruby live and die in grim circumstances, he promises to save her. In order to express his plea in a painting, Ivan must bravely face buried memories of the lush jungle, his family and their brutal murder, which is recounted in a brief, powerful chapter sure to arouse readers’ passions. In a compelling ending, the more challenging question Applegate poses is whether or not Ivan will remember what it was like to be a gorilla. Spot art captures poignant moments throughout.

Utterly believable, this bittersweet story, complete with an author’s note identifying the real Ivan, will inspire a new generation of advocates. (author’s note) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-199225-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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Fans of Love That Dog (2001) and Hate That Cat (2010) will find much to love in this story of a girl, a cow, and so much...

MOO

Newbery Medalist Creech touches on themes of loss, friendship, and belonging in this appealing tale of a young girl’s unlikely relationship with Zora, an enormous belted Galloway.

When 12-year-old Reena’s parents lose their newspaper jobs in the big city, they decide to change the flight plan of their lives and move to a small coastal town in Maine. Reena and her brother, Luke, “a seven-year-old complexity,” are volunteered by their mother to help Mrs. Falala, an elderly and ostensibly cantankerous woman whose menagerie of animals includes a pig named Paulie, a cat named China, a snake named Edna, and the ornery, stubborn, slobbering, bellowing cow, Zora. Soon Luke is teaching Mrs. Falala to draw, and Reena is preparing to show Zora at the upcoming fair. The book’s playful use of words sets this novel apart. Not only does Creech seamlessly intersperse prose and poetry, but the design manipulates typeface, font, setting, and spacing to paint word-pictures, in some instances creating concrete poetry while in others emphasizing a few words on the page—an accentuation that makes the story come alive and deftly communicates the range of emotions, from humor to sorrow, that the story conveys. Luke, Reena, and most of their new neighbors are likely white; Beat, an older girl who helps Reena learn about cows, is dark-skinned.

Fans of Love That Dog (2001) and Hate That Cat (2010) will find much to love in this story of a girl, a cow, and so much more. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-241524-0

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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